How I Became a School Counselor in Costa Rica

If you follow my Instagram or are on my email list, you may know that I am so blessed to have a school counseling job in Costa Rica! I work part-time at a K-12 international school. I am always posting pictures of sunsets and monkeys so I get a lot of questions about how I landed this position. It's an interesting story so I decided to write about it and answer all of your questions in one place.

It all started with getting mugged in Morroco..

But really! After working as a school counselor in San Diego for a few years my husband and I quit our jobs, sold our possessions, and traveled the world. Crazy, huh? (For more details on this, read my "about me" page.) So while backpacking through Morocco in August of 2018 we got robbed (just a laptop was stolen, fortunately, no one was hurt!) for the third time that year. We needed a break. We were over moving around every couple of days and I was ready for a dishwasher again. The world was literally our oyster! Our only stipulations were a Spanish speaking country with a beach. We started looking at Airbnbs and found one in Costa Rica that fit our amenities and budget needs. We had been there for our honeymoon a couple of years prior so we thought why not!?

Settling down in Costa Rica…the first time!

So that October we settled down in Tamarindo for 2 months. While there, our landlord asked what our online business was and I told her I sell my counseling resources on a website called Teachers Pay Teachers. She said her friend who lived there did that too. I thought surely she must be confused but sure enough, it's a small world and I met Tyra, @algebraandbeyond, for margaritas to talk about TpT. She told me she has lived here for 10 years working as a teacher at an international school. I thought it sounded great, but at the time there were no positions available and I wasn't looking for a job.

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The Stars Aligned.. Moving back to Costa Rica

Flash forward to February 2019, I'm sitting in my friend's kitchen in San Diego and I get a text from Tyra saying the school is hiring a counselor. My husband, Grant, and I had a big Southeast Asia trip planned that spring but were discussing going back to Costa Rica afterward. It seemed like an opportunity we couldn't pass up and the natural next step for us, so I applied. I got the job and we moved back down to Tamarindo on August 1, 2019.

So basically it was fate, friends. I wish I had an extensive list of websites with international school opportunities for you to reach out to and guidance on how to find these jobs, but I don't. It just sort of happened for me. My only recommendation is to find the country you are interested in and search for international schools there. You could then look at the employment opportunities on their website. So while this post may not have been helpful in a practical way, I hope it inspires you to follow your dreams!

FAQs

Is your job in Spanish?

Our school is bilingual so some classes are in Spanish and some are in English. All of my instruction is in English. It definitely helps to know the local language and I find my efforts are appreciated by parents and colleagues, but it is not necessary.

What is the makeup of the student population?

We have students from all over the world, but primarily North America (US and Canada) and Costa Rica.

Does it pay well?

Unfortunately, it doesn't pay as much as my California salary, but the cost of living is lower here too. I'm sure this varies from school to school.

If you have any questions, please comment below. I'm sure others have the same ones!

How I became a school counselor in Costa Rica

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